Thirteen year old, Phitchaya Thongthai, known to her friends as Inc, stood in front of more than 50 hotel representatives and made a strong case to stop serving shark fin soup in their hotels at an hoteliers event in Thailand’s resort town of Cha am. When Inc heard the hotels in the Western Province association would be meeting in Cha Am on October 21st, she jumped on the chance to reach so many costal hotels at one time and represent the Fin Free Thailand campaign as a youth ambassador.
Inc first heard of Fin Free Thailand when her older cousin was a Fin Free Ambassador. When he left for college and had to leave the campaign, Inc noticed the gap and saw it as an opportunity to get more involved.
“I come from a family of Chinese decent. I remember eating Shark fin soup when I was a child. As a family we researched the impact, realized it wasn’t right and decided to stop eating shark fin.” Inc strongly believes that “if the public knew the full facts they would stop as shark fin soup too.”
Fin Free Youth Ambassadors such as Inc really showcase the power and passion youth have to create awareness and change public perception and behavior. “Youth have such a big influence on our families, schools and other people our age. Our intentions are not as hindered as adults by traditional beliefs or making a profit”. After the event Inc encouraged youth to be more involved in conservation issues and to share this info with friends. She believes we all need to protect the ecosystem. “We are all here to enjoy the coast, the ocean, and the ecosystem which provides so much. Who are we to ruin our nature for the sake of profit?”
Fin Free Thailand works throughout the country campaign for an end to shark fin consumption and better ocean conservation. To date, more than 130 hotels have joined Fin Free Thailand’s ‘Blue List’, a list of prominent hotels pledging to never sell shark fin soup or other shark products.